We love a good hot take on a Friday morning, and folks, this one is absolutely white hot. We cannot stress that enough.
Federal Senator, Liberal Democrats member, and man who is profoundly horny for a single shotgun David Leyonhjelm has spouted off in the Australian Financial Review this morning, mere hours after the senate summarily walloped the Government’s red-faced attempts to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
The searingly awful diatribe doesn’t even wait for the body of the text for it to get shockingly bad. Cop this for a headline:
“The ethnic threat.” WOOF.
The crux of Leyonhjelm’s argument, in this instance, revolves around a few key – if not wildly contradictory and extremely wrong – points:
- That Australia’s entire cultural identity was installed by the British.
- That people immigrating to Australia from other cultures are seeking to systemically destroy that.
- That blocking immigration from certain countries is bad, but;
- That immigrants moving to Australia should know to either assimilate or don’t bother coming. And finally;
- That brown people can be racist too, actually.
The “threats” to 18C – i.e. those who support leaving the law as it stands – represents Australia’s “liberal values” being “under siege like never before,” according to Leyonhjelm. His worry is that this “ethnic threat” is gathering too much political clout and is, as such, on the verge of making saying bad things about them virtually illegal. The nerve.
And it would’ve been a stock-standard bad take from the Senator, whose wage you pay via taxes, but what puts this one in the Hall of Fame of shitty opinions is this paragraph that defies all belief:
“These values are not necessarily shared by those who come to Australia. Certain Armenians accuse Turkey of genocide but want to suppress its response; Greeks can have issues with Turks and Macedonians; Indians can be racist when it comes to West Indian cricketers but are sensitive to the same speech themselves; those from Arabic and Lebanese Muslim cultures can hold abhorrent views about women and gays and resolve matters of feelings and honour through violence; and many Jews want to suppress Holocaust denialism.”
So, by that estimation, it’s folks reacting angrily to someone claiming the freakin’ holocaust didn’t happen that’s bad. Not the actual claiming itself. Got it.
Further still, Leyonhjelm white-washes Indigenous Australian culture by flat-out ignoring First Nations people in suggesting Australia’s “cultural origins” lie exclusively in Britain.
This is the final form of Leyonhjelm’s “hurt feelings” crusade, which portrays anyone aggrieved of an act of systemic harassment, intimidation, or humiliation as a snowflake who should consume a cup of concrete and get on with it.
That those who push for changes to 18C cannot state what it is they’d like to be able to say that they are unable to right now should give anyone with a vested interest in law pause. That the entire debate revolves around three words in a law, and totally ignores the accompanying section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act is utterly insane.
18D, for those who need the refresher, contains provisos that act as balance for the current 18C, including performance, academic discussion, and this:
“…in making or publishing:
(i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
(ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.”
That’s the clause that prevents people who openly oppose same sex marriage from getting hauled into court, for example. 18C is not a rogue, tearaway law that makes your extremely clueless mate not self-censoring the N-word while rapping along to NWA in his car illegal. It is a thoughtful, considered piece of legislation that has its own checks and balances. Amending it in the way that bloviating white conservative men would like to does nothing but provide unwitting legal protection for unthinking nutjobs fucked up on energy drink to shout racial abuse at pedestrians from their car and drive off. Worse still, it gives rise to people on public platforms to spout outrageous broad slurs in the media under the protection of it not being directed harassment of any individual.
So what on earth is Leyonhjelm so crabby about? Why is it that he is absolutely bursting at the seams to say?
The law as it stands protects “free speech” quite succinctly. It doesn’t prevent anyone from having an opinion. It just prevents you from expressing it in a cuntish manner. It recognises the fact that some expression of opinion, like oh, say… holocaust denial, is harmful and diminishes the historic suffering of a people.
No one’s trying to take away your precious right to use bad words, David. They’re just a bit keen to hold you accountable when you act like a complete bastard.
Ironically, his closing sentence sums up the situation quite perfectly.
“With one side of politics already in full retreat, it is vital the other side steps up to protect those values before it is too late.”
Now that we couldn’t agree with more.